It’s been roughly three years since ATL rock outfit Sealions released their last record, Number One Lover, and in the interim the group has slipped into what you may call an extended hiatus. In December of 2015, vocalist and guitarist Jason Travis moved to Los Angeles, and although he continues to present the group as a going concern, time and distance have been known to be formidable obstacles to many relationships, let alone ones that require as much active participation as being in a band.
Fortunately, before packing his bags and heading west, he and his bandmates took the time to track a few new songs at the Quarry in Kennesaw, GA with TJ Elias and Big Jesus’ CJ Ridings at the production helm. Out of these sessions came the driving, dreamy “Climbers,” which finds the group at their most compact and direct, turning airy guitars and a driving backbeat into a riveting mediation on growing up and fighting for your place in the world. “‘Climbers’ is about building confidence and growing stronger, embracing change and the challenges we all face,” Travis notes in a press release. “It’s about seeing things from a different perspective and choosing not be scared of what lies ahead.”
But while the songwriting here is sharp, it’s the accompanying video that steals the show. Anyone who has tracked Travis’ career on Instagram or via his website, knows that he’s a talented photographer, videographer, and designer who’s crafted work for the likes of MailChimp, Adult Swim, and CNN, among many others. There’s a joyful, life-affirming quality to his imagery, which is more often than not bright, lush, and bursting with color and humor.
According to the press release, Travis has spent the last two years experimenting with drones, and on “Climbers” he uses all that acquired aerial footage to create a series of gorgeously stunning visuals where each scene unfolds like a mini diorama, rich in mesmerizing detail. I could sit here and point out all my favorites—the waves lapping up the beach, the pier jutting out into the blue-green water, the kids playing dodgeball—but really this is something you need to watch for yourself to appreciate the vision and scope behind the work. The future of Sealions may be cloudy, but right now the view is splendid.